Taping shape: menswear designers saw their show invitations as a real sticking point for A/W 2018. At Prada, a flat-pack corrugated cardboard box came wrapped with a white sticker, stamped with the event’s address. It also alluded to the theme of the show’s set design, imagined as a storage space, stacked with crates and boxes. More naturalistic was Kiko Kostadinov’s invitation – a grey flyer with dried flowers attached to its front with masking and brown tape. The dried foliage also nodded to the women’s headpieces which featured in the show, designed by Katsuya Kamo.
Grey area: Loewe and Santoni Edited by Marco Zanini showed a penchant for black and white photography. Loewe’s Jonathan Anderson enlisted Duane Michals to capture a magic-inspired menswear lookbook, with an image of hands swirling around a crystal ball also featuring as the brand’s show invitation. At Santoni Edited by Marco Zanini, the brand recruited art director Karl Kolbitz and photographer Ingar Krauss to capture a range of black and white portraits of Milanese people. Krauss also shot an image of a snuggly shearling coat piled onto a chair, which featured as the image on brand’s presentation invitation.
Sorbet shades: pastel hues were a hit at both the mens and women’s shows, with Berluti’s thick embossed invitation imagined in a particularly delectable shade of candy floss pink. At Missoni, a dainty pocket book with bright coloured pages, was bound with a cover in a gradient of pastel shades, while at Roksanda, the designer collaborated with the artist Caroline Denervaud on a fold out poster of softly formed shapes. At Akris, creative director Albert Kriemler took inspiration from early 20th-century Vienna, lining the back of his show space with Egon Schiele portraits. One also appeared on the brand’s show invitation, featuring a transparent pink paper fold out, printed with with a pencil and paint Schiele sketch.
Mirror mirror: Yohji Yamamoto has a penchant for practical show invitations, and for his A/W 2018 womenswear show he designed a disco-centric compact mirror with a shimmering glittery cover. As a solution for losing cosmetic items inside handbags, the mirror came complete with a long coated cord, which could be tied around the neck like a lanyard.
Cold spell: womenswear designers showed an icy inclination to their invitation design. At Issey Miyake, Yoshiyuki Miyamae collaborated with the octogenarian graphic designer and illustrator Tadanori Yokoo on a show ticket which unfolded to reveal two winter-inspired artworks. One side featured the profile of a wolf and a burning campfire against a snowy landscape, and the other a circling collage of white tigers. Meanwhile, at Nehera, the brand’s presentation flyer came complete with a fold out invitation featuring a model walking through a snowy landscape surrounded by tall reeds, lensed by Michal Pudelka.
Type hype: in Paris, designers had a soft spot for sans serif typography – with Comme des Garçons Homme Plus and Dior Homme printing simple black script onto foldable glossy white paper. Over at the womenswear shows, Junya Watanabe favoured a capitalised font, printed at an off-kilter angle on cream matt paper.
Sugar-coated: designers hit the sweet spot with confectionary-inspired show invitations. At Fendi’s women’s show, a fold-out invitation came printed with a chocolate box-like diamond print in sugary pink, which also featured on the walls of the show space. At Carven, a textured white card came inside a transparent paper sleeve. Printed with with green and white stripes, it resembled a paper bag designed for storing penny sweets.
Plastic fantastic: designers experimented with plastic casing in a variety of forms – from invitations enclosed in clear zip-lock bags at Off-White womenswear and Prada womenswear, to a historical portrait sealed tight inside folds of embossed cellophane at MSGM’s women’s show. There was an inflated energy to Francesco Risso’s womenswear invitation design at Marni, which was imagined as a blown up plastic packet, resembling a miniature balloon.
Draw interest: designers were enticed by the charm of the sketch pad. At Alexander McQueen’s menswear show, invitations came complete with a figurative sketch, enclosed in a leaf of thin tracing paper, framed with thin red pen. At Miu Miu, Miuccia Prada collaborated with the creative agency M/M Paris on a brand alphabet. Its inky letters appeared on the label’s invitations and hung as oversized bunting from the ceiling of its show space.
Book club: for his A/W 2018 menswear show, Marni’s Francesco Risso created an invitation-cum-sealed exercise book, complete with pages made from acetate and thick tracing paper, printed with his doctrine for the season – an assemblage of statements about art and impulse, punctuated with free floating letters of the alphabet. At Loewe womenswear, Jonathan Anderson was equally rigorous about reading. His invitation featured a fold-out poster lensed by Steven Klein, of a model reading a Loewe branded version of Don Quixote. The volume was also one of the books left on the Maison de l’Unesco venue’s seats for guests to take home after the show.
Material value: brands emphasised their fascination for fabrics, with Mackintosh and OAMC posting rectangular swatches of materials as invitations – bi-colour panels of tweed printed with a go-faster stripe or a piece of felt coated in plastic. Salvatore Ferragamo’s invitation had a more literary leaning, and featured glossy colourful pages bound into a canvas covered book.
Dangerous ground: Safety orange is a shade associated with protection, and for its A/W 2018 show, utility-focused label Christopher Raeburn designed a show invitation in bright orange recycled card, illustrated with a suit-clad fisherman floating on choppy waves. Attached to the card was a keyring with a functioning orange whistle, should danger befall the brand’s guests. For its A/W 2018 show, Gucci was alarmingly accident-prone, sending guests a bomb-like orange plastic box with a ticking digital countdown and an exclamatory ‘Warning’ sign, sealed in a plastic bag.
Sock it to ‘em: Stella McCartney’s versatile show invitation was both sustainable and snuggly. It came complete with a pair of logo branded yellow socks, made from repurposed post-consumer and post-industrial textile waste and using zero water, dyes and harsh chemicals. A treat for both the toes and the soul.
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